Companies who give customers estimates without doing a site survey and a visit of the residence or company, hopefully are only giving you a ball park figure of how large and expensive the system can be. There are many site visit items that Google Earth does not reveal. These include the size of your feeder cables, the utility company transformer size, the ampacity of the buss bar in the main distribution panel, breaker spaces available in the main distribution panel, and ground or roof conditions that the array will be mounted to. So our advice to any customer don’t sign any agreement until the company proposing a system has done an adequate site inspection.
Competence in the design and installation of a solar electric system is critical, as a solar electric system, properly designed and installed, is a gift that just keeps on giving. Can you expect a vehicle, boat, or any other asset to last for 25 years and come with product warranties that range from 10-30 years?
Your solar system asset does have a return on your investment and ultimately pays for itself and keeps on saving you money for many more years. Return on investments (you get your money back) on grid-tied solar electric systems, range from 5 years for commercial systems to as long as 12 years for financed residential systems. This asset purchase typically has no maintenance costs associated with its existence. Compare that to a car, boat, or truck.
Most product warranties of solar electric components come with a minimum of a 10 year warranty and solar electric modules typically have a 10 year warranty on workmanship and a 25 year warranty on 80% prodcution output. Kevin Goodreau, the President of Experienced Solar, has been involved in literally hundreds of grid-tied solar electric systems and over a 10 year period has seen less than 1% of them encounter problems.
A solar electric system that is designed properly and installed with the highest level of attention to detail will need little, if any maintenance over many years. Most grid tied systems have arrays that are fixed and the end user rarely if ever adjusts the tilt angle of the array. It is very important that the array is sized such that the production is greater than what the customer is expecting.
When the electric production from a solar array does not meet the customer’s expectations or desires, it is almost always the fault of the company who designed and installed the system. An example would be if the slope of a roof is 20 degrees and the modules are placed parallel to the roofline on the roof, this tilt angle as well as the azimuth angle (direction east or west of true south) of the array need to be properly sized such that the estimated output of the solar array is reflected on your estimated production.
There are several additional items that should be considered by your solar company, but the designed and installed tilt angle and azimuth angle are two that every customer should discuss with the proposing company. You will be surprised with the answers you get.
Categorised in: Solar
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